NCAA Division II Preview: UC San Diego Takes Aim At UC Santa Barbara

PHOENIX, Arizona, November 8. SEVERAL intriguing matchups are on the schedule this weekend in NCAA Division II dual meet action, including top-ranked UC San Diego and second-ranked Queens University of Charlotte.

UC San Diego, which remained atop the Endless Pools/ top 25 rankings for a second week, will travel to the University of California — Santa Barbara on Saturday for just their second competition of the season. Last weekend, the Tritons took on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in their season-opening meet and both the men’s and women’s teams came away with a victory. Anji Shakya, the defending NCAA Division II national champion in the 200 free, earned victories in three individual events, and her time in the 500 free is ranked third nationally at 5:05.55. The Tritons boast 12 returning All-Americans on their roster and will also rely heavily on divers Luke Calkins and Garet Webster, who have already notched NCAA qualifying standards in the men’s 1-meter and 3-meter events, respectively. UC Santa Barbara has won the last eight meetings between the two teams, and the Tritons will look to end that streak tomorrow afternoon.

After splitting an extremely close dual meet with conference rival Wingate on Wednesday, the Queens University of Charlotte men’s and women’s teams will be back in action on Saturday as they host Campbell and Davidson. The Royal women topped Wingate by a single point, 123-122, on Wednesday, while the Wingate men came out ahead, 140-105. The two schools have been jockeying for position behind UC San Diego in the Division II polls, and Queens currently has the edge. NCAA B cuts have begun to roll in for the Royals, as the women’s team has been led by freshman Hannah Peiffer and sophomore Caroline Arakelian in that category. Freshman Matt Josa has continued to make a mark, setting a school record in the 100 fly on Wednesday at 47.91, which is more than a second faster than anyone else in Division II this year.

Seventh-ranked Delta State has a busy weekend ahead, as they’ll race against Missouri S&T this afternoon (men only) and Drury tomorrow. Both the men’s and women’s teams are still hunting for their first win of the season after falling to Division I Alabama and Western Kentucky in October. Sprinters William Iles and Fabrice Wendel could provide a huge boost in the 50 and 100 free, as well as on relays in the men’s meets, while the women’s team boasts a strong mid-distance freestyle group and three swimmers with conference-leading times in backstroke (Kierstin Page), breaststroke (Kirsten Stroven) and IM (Melanie Tombers).

Other meets to look for this weekend include Grand Valley State against Michigan State tonight, and West Florida vs. LaGrange tomorrow.

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